This World Mental Health Day, show the pandemic the SHARK - feelya

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5 min read

Today, Saturday 10 October, is the World Health Organisation’s World Mental Health Day. It comes at a time of much uncertainly as we all come to terms with the impact of Covid 19 on our lives. Whether it is affecting our health, work, finances or relationships – we are all having to adjust and accept that we do not know what the future will be like.

To mark World Mental Health Day, we are sharing a short suggestion from Dr Craig Knight, a Chartered and Registered Psychologist and Research Fellow at the University of Exeter. Dr Craig Knight offers psychotherapy on the feelya platform.

He suggests the acronym SHARK: five things to remember when the pandemic sends you into a tailspin.

S – SOCIAL: We are humans. We need to interact with others. This is essential to our species and especially true of the elderly. The society of others keeps us alive as we age. So, talk, zoom, WhatsApp as much as you like. Interact with those in your bubble. Physically distance of course, it will keep us safe; but social distancing may kill us. Be social.

H – HELP: Help others. Find out what you can do to help people through the pandemic. Not only will this benefit those around you, but there are personal gains too. You will increase your social interaction, increase your sense of self-worth, and benefit yourself both physiologically and psychologically. If you want to live better and sleep well: increase your sense of self-respect by helping others. It works.

A – AUTONOMY: Take control. We always live under rules. You wouldn’t shop naked at Sainsbury’s or play rock guitar in the library. We just have different boundaries at the moment. Within these boundaries you are in charge. So, take control of your life. Decide when to shop, when to exercise, when to call your friends. It is up to you; it is your life, be autonomous.

R – ROUTINE: Now you are in control work out a routine. When do you want to eat, work, or climb out of bed in the morning (or the afternoon if you are particularly owlish)? Find time for some exercise. 30 minutes of anything that has the heart pumping is great – yes, including that. Setting your life into some sense of order, really will help you work, rest and play (and even manage half an hour’s disco dancing, I know that’s what you were thinking).

K – KEEP GOING: Sometimes things are just rubbish. This is true at work, in normal life, and during a pandemic. During bad times, particularly now, just put one fin in front of the other and keep swimming. Things will improve. Indeed, if you remember to live like this particular SHARK, they need never be that bad.